So you were carrying the groceries from your car and decided to load all of the bags on your arms in one trip. It seemed like a good idea at the time until you felt a sharp pain shoot up your low back. Does this sound familiar? Whether you were carrying groceries, working out at the gym or doing the dishes, back pain can spontaneously happen anywhere! Almost everyone experiences back pain at some point in their lives.
While serious back pain should be addressed by a professional, moderate to mild pain can often be resolved in the comfort of your own home. Here are some tips to get rid of the stubborn back pain for good.
Anatomy of the back
Ice, Ice, Baby.
Within the first 24 to 48 hours of your injury, ice can help to reduce inflammation in your muscles. Be sure to limit your ice time to 20 minute intervals to give your skin some rest. If your pain persists after 48 hours, be sure to contact your doctor for further advice.
Stay on your toes
We should treat our spines like we treat the rest of our body, by constantly moving. Maintain your daily routine and activities if at all possible. Go for a walk, take the kids to the park, do the dishes. Once your back is recovered you can start getting into more intense forms of exercise to keep your back mobile and loose. Another great suggestion is to pick up yoga or another form of aerobic stretching to keep your back muscles relaxed.
Build those muscles
Work to build the muscles surrounding the back like the hips, abdominals, pelvis. By strengthening these areas, you can prevent further back injuries. Only revert to strengthening these areas once your back has fully recovered. Do not forget to work the back extensor muscles too!
Stretch it out
Most of us sit in chair that is arguably not as comfortable as it should be all day at work. Not only is sitting often not comfortable, but it is not ergonomic for our body. Spend time every 45 minutes to get out of your chair and arch your back while reaching slightly behind your head. As mentioned before, having a regular stretching routine like yoga can also be beneficial to accompany your mini stretches throughout the day. Try to make it a habit and your back will thank you!
Sleep like a baby
A poor night’s sleep can often make your back pain worse, so getting some much needed shut eye is crucial to recovering from back pain. Poor sleeping positions can often exasperate back pain, so try to choose a position that suits you. We advise to avoid sleeping on your stomach, but on your side instead. Placing a pillow between your legs will help keep your spine in a neutral position. If you wish to sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. A mattress on the firmer side of the spectrum is often better for your back then a mattress that is too soft, so keep that in mind.
OTC and Prescribed Medications
We hesitate to give any advice concerning over-the-counter medications as some people do not respond well to certain medications. Please always consult your doctor to ensure you are safe to take the following pain relievers for back pain. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen are the two most popular medications for pain relief. Taken in conjunction with the other treatments, they can be effective in eliminating pain.
Individuals may need prescription NSAIDs or opioid medications to deal with serious back pain. These medications can often have addictive properties and adverse side effects so it is crucial to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting to take them.
Relax and Unwind
Massage has been recently proven to reduce back pain in studies. Benefits of massage have been shown to last months after treatment. Not to mention the ability for clients to fully unwind from their busy lives. While massage is often expensive, it can be a worthwhile investment as part of your recovery plan. For a cheaper alternative, look for in-home massagers! While they cannot offer the same quality as a certified massage therapist, they are better than nothing.